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Mahela Jayawardene has a Bradmanesque record at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), his home ground. In the second Test against South Africa, he smashed his 11th ton at the venue and it comes at a time when he is in the twilight of his Test career. Nishad Pai Vaidya revisits all the Jayawardene-tons at the SSC.
The Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) is Mahela Jayawardene’s favourite hunting ground and he has notched up his 11th Test ton at this venue. Jayawardene’s ton on Day one of the Second Test against South Africa is his 34th overall. Imagine scoring nearly one third of your Test tons at one venue. It is just a reflection of Jayawardene’s liking for the surface there, which has been his home ground and where he played junior-level cricket. Let us now revisit all his tons at the SSC.
1. 242 vs India: February 1999
This was Jayawardene’s first double ton in Test cricket and his first century at the venue. It was the beginning of his successful run at this venue. Sri Lanka were 18 for one after India had scored 518. Jayawardene walked in at No 3 and smashed a double ton, while the next best score for his side was 66. He was the last man out with Sri Lanka on 485.
2. 101 not out vs South Africa: August 2000
Chasing 263 to win against a good South African attack, Sri Lanka had slipped to 20 for two when Jayawardene strode to the middle. Sri Lanka soon lost Jayasuriya and were 37 for three, but the young Jayawardene continued to guide the innings with the experienced Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga supporting him. Jayawardene took Sri Lanka to safety to 195 for four when the match was called a draw. This happened during Ranatunga’s last Test.
3. 139 vs India: August 2001
With the series tied 1-1, Sri Lanka and India moved into the decisive Test at SSC. India were bowled bowled out for 234 and then Sri Lanka just piled on the runs to take their score to 610. Jayawardene scored 139 in that run-fest and was adjudged leg-before to Sairaj Bahutule. Sri Lanka went on to win the game by an innings and sealed the series 2-1.
4. 150 retired out vs Bangladesh: September 2001
Just days after he smashed the ton against India, Jayawardene was at it again as Sri Lanka bullied Bangladesh. The tourists were first bowled out for 90 and then Sri Lanka slaughtered their bowlers. Jayawardene walked in at 269 for two and then put up a 171-run partnership with Marvan Attapatu, who got to his double hundred and then retired out. Jayawardene batted on to get 150 and then retired out himself. Though Mohammad Ashraful scored a ton in the second innings, Bangladesh were never getting back in the game.
5. 134 vs England: December 2003
There is a certain script in Sri Lankan victories. They first bowl the opposition out and then Jayawardene and company come out to smash their bowlers around. The same thing happened against England in December 2003. After England were wrapped up for 265, Sri Lanka amassed 628 runs. Jayawardene put up a long 262-run stand with Thilan Samaraweera to setup an easy innings victory for Sri Lanka.
6. 374 vs South Africa: July 2006
The game in which Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara rewrote the records! The pair came together at 14 for two and then tired the South Africans out with a stand worth 624 runs. Jayawardene smashed 374, which is the highest score by a right-hander in Test cricket. This innings came in the middle of a very productive phase for Jayawardene as a player and as a captain.
7. 127 vs Bangladesh: July 2007
The script from 2001 repeats yet again! Bangladesh were bowled out for 89 and then Sri Lanka hammered 577 with four batsmen getting tons. Jayawardene smashed 127 and had to retire in the middle. He came back to pile more runs and was the sixth and last batsman to lose his wicket in the Sri Lankan innings. Needless to say, Bangladesh were beaten quite easily.
8. 195 vs England: December 2007
Though England scored over 300 in the first innings, the Sri Lankan batting script did not change. Though Sri Lanka lost two early wickets, Michael Vandort and Jayawardene put up a 227-run stand. Jayawardene came close to getting his double ton but was dismissed on 195 by Monty Panesar. England managed to hold on for a draw in this game.
9. 136 vs India: July 2008
Setting the tone for the series, Jayawardene and the Sri Lankan batsmen smashed 600 runs to keep a strong Indian team at bay. Jayawardene scored 136 runs as there were three other batsmen who scored tons. India never recovered from there and were bullied by Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis.
10. 174 vs India: July 2010
Jayawardene and Sangakkara at it again! After opener Tharanga Paranavithana scored 100, Jayawardene and Sangakkara put up 193-run stand. Jayawardene smashed 174 as his mate got a double ton. Sri Lanka piled on 642 for the loss of only two wickets. India did manage to hold on for a draw thanks to a double ton by Sachin Tendulkar and a century on debut from Suresh Raina.
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